TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



18. Organic Reconnaissance Units

Most types of German field divisions include an organic reconnaissance battalion, and the remainder have strong reconnaissance companies. The following are the basic types of the divisional reconnaissance units:

The reconnaissance battalion of the Infantry Division, Old Type, consisted of a horse cavalry troop, a bicycle troop, and a heavy weapons troop. For many years it was the basic reconnaissance unit of the German Army. Since the end 1943, however, it has been replaced by the Füsilier battalion.

The Füsilier battalion of the Infantry Division, 1944 Type, consists of three rifle companies and a heavy weapons company. This battalion may be employed either on reconnaissance missions or as a crack divisional reserve unit. (See Figure 140.)

When, at the end of 1944, the tables of organization for the newly formed Volks Grenadier divisions were issued, the reconnaissance unit for that type of division was specified to be a strong Füsilier company, highly mobile through a large allotment of bicycles. (See Figure 141.)

Front reports indicate, however, that there is a trend toward increasing the strength of the Füsilier battalion again.

The armored reconnaissance battalion, after many reorganizations in recent years, became a very strong and highly mobile standard type of reconnaissance unit in most types of German armored and motorized divisions. (See Figures 142 and 143.)

The Mountain Battalion (Aufklärungsabteilung) is organic in army and SS mountain divisions and in light divisions. It consists of three bicycle companies and a heavy weapons company. One of the bicycle companies, however, sometimes may be replaced by a motorcycle company. For the strength and equipment of the mountain reconnaissance battalion, see Section V, Paragraph 3.

The Mobile Battalion (Schnelle Abteilung) was formed in 1943 by merging the reconnaissance and antitank battalions. A considerable number of infantry divisions adopted that type of a reconnaissance unit. Early in 1944, however, the mobile battalions started to revert to their former status of a separate antitank battalion and a separate reconnaissance battalion. At that time the latter was reformed and redesignated Füsilier battalion.


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